Apple used this week's WWDC to unveil its new version of Mac OS X : Snow Leopard. We've rounded up five things you need to know about Apple's latest OS.

At this week's Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) as well as unveiling the new iPhone, Apple also launched Snow Leopard - the latest version of Mac OS X.

For years, Apple has churned out versions of Mac OS X pumped full of new features geared toward the average user. And it seems like with every iteration of Mac OS X, the new feature count balloons. While many of these new features are small - for example, Apple touted additional fonts as a new Leopard feature - they make up the majority of the appeal for the new versions of the OS.

With Snow Leopard, Apple is taking a detour, and is focusing on performance, under-the-hood improvements, and user interface refinements. That doesn't mean Snow Leopard isn't worth paying attention to, though. Here are five things you should know about Snow Leopard.


Speed and efficiency

Snow Leopard includes a host of new features with performance in mind, such as Grand Central Dispatch (which allows Snow Leopard to better take advantage of multi-core processors) and OpenCL (which lets Snow Leopard use the graphics card to do general computing tasks).

This has uses beyond science, 3D, gaming, and such, but could be put to work for everyday tasks. Also, Snow Leopard should use much less disk space; Apple claims you could regain over 6GB of disk space by installing Snow Leopard, but your mileage will most certainly vary.


Snow Leopard will be a £19 upgrade for users of Leopard (£35 for the five-licence family pack). With previous upgrades, you would have to pay the full price - £83 - even if you were upgrading from 10.4 to 10.5, for example.

Apple probably reasons that most users won't be able to see the new features and changes, which Apple has traditionally used to sell Mac OS X upgrades, so Apple will cut Leopard users a break this time.

Even during the keynote, Apple positioned Snow Leopard as 'Leopard: Second Edition' instead of a brand new version. It seems to fit in between a service pack and a full-blown upgrade, so it's priced appropriately.

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